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Communism in Colombia

The history of communism in Colombia goes back as far as the 1920s and has its roots in the idealism of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People's Army (FARC-EP) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) continue their four decades old war with the United States-backed Colombian government.

Many social science experts around the world who have studied historical events in Colombia note the influence and intervention, as in many other Central Intelligence Agency was present in many cases.


  • Historical background 1
    • The Banana Workers Massacre (1928-29) 1.1
    • The Liberal Revolution (1930-45) 1.2
    • El Bogotazo (1948) 1.3
  • Notable Colombian communists 2
  • Communist organizations of Colombia 3
  • See also 4
  • External links 5
  • References 6

Historical background

In July 1925 the Colombian government expelled Silvestre Savitski for teaching and spreading the doctrine of communism in Colombia. There were several bombs found in February 1928, and communists were blamed for plotting to blow up various private and public buildings on May 1, 1928 which is celebrated as Labor Day. Several communist leaders were blamed for the plot, such as Tomás Uribe Márquez who visited Russia 18 months before the incident. Other popular communists who were arrested for involvement in the plot were María Cano and Ignacio Torres Giraldo. After this incident the press released news about similar incidents happening throughout the country. This was the starting point in Colombian history of awareness of communists and their activities.

The Banana Workers Massacre (1928-29)

The scrip.

The union leaders were protesting at Santa Marta, the capital of the Magdalena department in the north of the country. The ruling Conservative government's President Miguel Abadia Mendez sent troops led by General Carlos Cortés Vargas to capture the strike leaders, send them to prison at Cartagena, and send additional troops to protect the economic interests of the United Fruit Company. Many United States citizens working for the United Fruit Company lived in the area around Santa Marta, and U.S. warships carrying troops were on the way to Colombia to protect U.S. citizens and property. The Colombian army also opened fire on people who gathered at the main plaza of the city of Ciénaga to support the strikers.

The popular Liberal Party leader

The Liberal Revolution (1930-45)

Liberals came into power in 1930 under the leadership of Enrique Olaya Herrera and the presidency of Alfonso López Pumarejo (1934–38). The people's uprising began after the UFCO banana workers massacre eventually brought the Liberals into power. The Colombian Communists also supported the Liberals and the social and economic issues brought up by their government.

There were many social reforms happened in their ruling period of 15 years and called it as “Revolution on the March”. The 1936 constitutional amendments gave the government to influence the privately owned economic interests. The rights of the labor were established such as 8 hours per day, 6 days per week and the pre-informed work strike. The Liberal government influenced by the Communists thought the people's education is the most significant factor when taken into the consideration on every angle, and they taken it into the government control from the influence of the Catholic Church.

The petroleum industry is the wealth of the Colombians, they have right to get the benefit, and they decided to take the industry into government control - also the Colombian people were given first preference as workers in the industry. Low cost housing projects were launched for low income laborers. Inter-departmental customs barriers were put into the trading. The other important economic factor was land reform. The government took excess land from private landowners and distributed it among poor peasants which increased the economic level of them and also increased production in the agricultural sector.

The social revolution of the Communist-influenced Liberals in Colombia lasted only about 15 years. The second term of President Alfonso López Pumarejo (1942–46) not completed due to political pressure against him from various forces which forced him to resign. Then in 1946 the Conservatives came to power when the popular Jorge Eliécer Gaitán failed in his bid to become the Liberal Party candidate, and ran instead as an independent, thereby splitting the Liberal vote and giving the victory to Conservative candidate Mariano Ospina Perez (Mariano Ospina Perez 565,939 votes, Gabriel Turbay 441,199 votes, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán 358,957 votes).

El Bogotazo (1948)

After taking state power from Liberals in 1946, the Conservatives began to overturn Liberal reforms. The popular Conservative policies which started tension between the two parties.

Gaitan was shot and killed about 1:15 p.m. on April 9, 1948 near the corner of Carrera Séptima and Jimenez de Quesada in Central Bogotá during the 9th Pan-American Conference.

After the death of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, riots were started in Bogotá. The angry mob killed his murderer Juan Roa Sierra and dragged his body in the streets to the front of the presidential palace where they hanged it publicly. The rioters took control of all national radio stations in the city of Bogotá, and announcements were delivered against the Conservative government of Mariano Ospina Pérez. Bridges were blown up, and this caused a lack of food in the city. The airfields at Honda, Cartago, Barrancabermeja and Turbo were also taken by the people. The rioters' slogan was Yankee imperialism wants to convert us into military and economic colonies, and we must fight in defense of Colombian society.

Notable Colombian communists

Communist organizations of Colombia

See also

External links

  • CIP Colombia Program


  • Dance of the Millions: Military Rule and the Social Revolution in Colombia : 1930-1956, Vernon L. Fluharty, ISBN 0-8371-8368-5, 1975
  • Blood and Fire: La Violencia in Antioquia, Colombia, 1946-1953, Mary Roldan, Duke University Press, ISBN 0-8223-2918-2, 2002
  • Diario de la resistencia de Marquetalia, Jacobo Arenas, Ediciones Abejón Mono, 1972
  • Killing Peace: Colombia's Conflict and the Failure of U.S. Intervention, Garry M. Leech, Information Network of the Americas (INOTA), ISBN 0-9720384-0-X, 2002
  • War in Colombia: Made in U.S.A., edited by Rebeca Toledo, Teresa Gutierrez, Sara Flounders and Andy McInerney, ISBN 0-9656916-9-1, 2003
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